Ecobank Sierra Leone has commenced an action in the Fast Track Commercial Court against customer Fatimata Adiza Magona, who the pan-African bank says owed them Le70 million in loan repayment since 2009.
Counsel for the bank, Adewale Showers, yesterday argued before Justice Fatimata Bintu Alhadi that the loan was long overdue and that the respondent should also pay interest rate attached to it. Lawyer Showers reminded the court that the principal amount given as loan to the defendant was Le70m, as stated in their affidavit.
He submitted that the defendant’s counsel had not disputed the outstanding amount already exhibited in their affidavit in opposition, hence they should follow procedure and offset the loan. He stressed that the respondent had failed to offset the loan repayment and had been reneging to negotiate the interest rate, adding that the bank resorted to court action as a result.
Madam Magona (respondent) through her lawyer, E.E.C. Shears-Moses, admitted in his affidavit that his client took the said loan from ECOBank in 2009, but there were no terms and conditions attached to the loan agreement as to how it would be repaid.
He indicated in his affidavit that his client had repaid the sum of Le46.4 million to the bank, with only Le29.6 million outstanding.
While lawyer for the plaintiff did not dispute the remainder amount, he insisted that the respondent should pay the interest rate on the loan.
Earlier, the respondent, under oath, told the court that at the time she took the loan, the bank did not issue any terms of conditions to her regarding the repayment of the loan because she was one of their trusted customers.
She said that several months after obtaining the loan, she was requested by the bank to submit a collateral equivalent to the loan sum.
“My Lord, I gave them my jewelries comprising a set of earrings, golden necklaces, rings, and bracelet, including the tittle deed of my house,” she said.
She further claimed that she was maltreated and manhandled by officials at the bank when business started getting worse for her and could not pay back the loan on time.
Meanwhile, Hon. Justice Alhadi earlier instructed the bank to restore the jewelries to the defendant while they proceed with the substantive matter.
Hence, the said jewelries were yesterday taken to court for restitution, but the defendant, in identifying them, contended that the necklace brought by the bank does not resemble hers.
Because of the contention, the judge urged the opposing lawyers to negotiate the interest rate and further their case on trial if they were of the view that there was a case for trial surrounding the necklace and the interest rate. The matter was adjourned to Thursday, 27 October, 2016.